Author Archives: MoCoGenSo Webmaster

August 2017 Meeting Notes

Bill Hannah, our VP of Ways and Means, spoke the other night about his experiences at the RoosTech 2017 conference. He also showed us about the Wolfram Alpha web site.

He has made his presentation slides available and a copy of the Wolfram Alpha handout he provided. You can download them here by clicking on the respective link:

Presentation Slides
There are Presentation Notes for some of the slides. Your PDF viewer should be able to show them. But you have to look for them.

WolframAlpha Handoute Book


You can learn more about RootsTech 2018 by Clicking Here.

Next year, the Conference is Feb 28 – March 3, 2018


And you can go straight to the Wolfram Alpha site by Clicking Here.

When you get to Wolfram Alpha, type this request into the window: My Grandfather’s Niece’s Daughter to get a sense of how this site can be used for genealogy!


“Creativity is the residue of time wasted. – Albert Einstein


Monthly Meeting – Aug. 3, 2017: “Rootstech & Federation of Genealogical Societies 2017 Conferences’”, by Bill Hannah

Join Bill as he recounts his experience at RootsTech 2017, the premier annual genealogy conference in Salt Lake City. He will discuss the event organization, highlight several of the world-class speakers, and give an overview of the 200+ classes available. He will present several specific topics from some of the classes that you will be able to use in your genealogy research. Bill will conclude with a brief discussion of our recent Board decision to join the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), what it means to the society as a whole, and to the individual members. He has been designated our society’s contact person and delegate for FGS. The FGS Conference this year will be “Building Bridges to the Past”, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 30-September 2, 2017.

Bill Hannah is a retired Army Officer, and defense contractor. He earned a B.S. in Mathematics (Clemson), and M.S. in Operations Research (NPS). He enjoys applying research skills gained through these degrees and throughout his career into his genealogical quests. Bill has a rich family history from the South, Midwest, and from Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. He has been a member of Monterey County Genealogy Society since 2010, and is currently serving on its board. He is a member of our local SAR. He has also been a speaker for — The Annual Ancestor Round-up Conference, and The Monterey Bay Colony of the Mayflower Society.

Doors open at 6:15 pm, the meeting starts at 7:00 pm. We’ll see you at the Family History Center, 1024 Noche Buena, Seaside, CA., left rear of building.


“Mathematics is the extension of common sense by other means.” – Jordan Ellenberg


Monterey County Fair 2017

The Monterey County Fair is being held this year August 31 through September 4th. You can find out more details at their own web site here montereycountyfair.com/.

The Adult Home Arts division is including a section for Genealogy! You can win a ribbon just by displaying your family tree! Or old letters or pictures or whatever. See various Classifications here.  Each entry will cost $1.00.   (note – clicking on the image will make it larger, perhaps easier to read)

The dates you need to worry about are:

July 31 – Entry Form due at their office (mail or online)
August 19, 26, 27, 28 – Exhibits turned in
September 5 – Exhibits returned

The Entry Rules are here: Entry Rules

A PDF copy of the Entry Form can be found here: Entry Form

There are some copies of the full County Fair guide in the Family History Center or you can reach a PDF version here: Guide Book.


I hope someone from MoCoGenSo wins all the Blue Ribbons. Bring them to our next meeting to show us! 🙂


“When I was researching the County Fair processes, I discovered that they are holding the Scottish Games & Celtic Festival at the Fairgrounds August 5 & 6! Some of us have traced our ancestors back into Scotland and might get a kick out of seeing clan memorabilia and listening to the old Celtic music. Besides, some of those guys look cute in their kilts. 🙂 My surname trails into Kelso, Scotland. I have just tested the Big-Y test trying to determine if I got there from Norway or Denmark.


FamilySearch will Discontinue Microfilm Distribution, Soon

On Monday of this week, FamilySearch in Salt Lake City announced that they will soon stop distributing microfilms and fiche. We all knew this would happen eventually, but I for sure didn’t expect it to happen this soon. The last day to order microfilm will be August 31, 2017.

FamilySearch has made significant progress in the digitization of its vast collection of microfilm, making access to records easier than ever. This progress, coupled with changes in the microfilm industry, have made it possible and necessary to discontinue microfilm distribution services.

FamilySearch has now digitally reproduced the bulk of its microfilm collection, with over 1.5 billion images available online. The digitization of remaining microfilms is expected to be completed by 2020. The most requested collections are already available digitally, and all new records are being preserved using digital camera equipment.

Brass tacks:
• you can order films for the next 2 months, until Sept 1
• you can view recently ordered films for 90 days, last day Dec 1
• dinner party to celebrate Dec 7
• the locally stored films will remain here, for now.

This is not the end of the world. Most of the films are already digitized and online. Viewing a digitized “film” online is just like viewing a film, except you don’t turn a crank, you click a mouse button. It is true, scanning through an online film isn’t that fun, but truthfully, neither was hunching over a film reader.

What is good about the online versions is that they are slowly being indexed too! Indexing takes longer than simply copying the film to disk. And spelling errors in the indexes will require that you “crank” the “film” anyway.

There is a gap -> new records are being digitized now using cameras. They estimate the last films won’t be online until 2020. That means some old, not-so-popular films won’t be viewable anywhere for 2+ years. I assume FamilySearch has figured out the order to process films that will have the smallest impact on the fewest people. But if you are concerned, and are reading this now, don’t delay any longer. Order that film soon!

Different History Centers will have different return schedules. Local leaders will manage their collections on loan from FamilySearch and determine when to return films that are already published online. Since we have facilities here to handle storage, it is thought that we will be keeping our rather large library here locally for some time. But that time is unknown.

There are some films here in Seaside on long term storage that are “smoking guns” for my research. I will be making a plan to copy those important images to personal flash drive! And perhaps I might have to do more advertising for folks to index records!

(The one thing I worry about is viewing fiche online. I don’t see how….)


“Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.” – Thomas Hardy


RootsMagic releases Ancestry features!!

According to the dictionary, SURPRISE means “an unexpected or astonishing event, fact, or thing”. Well, this week has been full of surprising things. Today, for example, we learned that RootsMagic has finally released the update that connects RM to Ancestry!

This is great news to me as I am in the process of switching from The Master Genealogist software to RootsMagic and have made more updates in the Ancestry tree that I have in TMG. I need to be able to blend the two trees without losing anything or anybody!

The “TreeShare for Ancestry” option allows you to upload a tree from RM to Ancestry or download from Ancestry to RM. You can also keep the two trees synchronized, keep them matching. When you upload or download trees, they include pictures as well as sources, notes and other expected items.

The other new option they have added is called “Ancestry Hints Integration“. This basically allows you to work with all those wonderful Ancestry Hints from inside of RootsMagic. If you accept a hint, it will also update your synchronized RM tree!

The upgrade is free to anyone with version 7.x. When you apply the upgrade, you are offered a chance to win a prize. Go for it.

If you have been setting on the sidelines about RootsMagic or Ancestry, perhaps watching a video that shows how the new system in RootsMagic works will help you decide. And if you already have RootsMagic and want a quick tutorial on how to use these new options, you should watch this. Trust me, it is worth it. Do note, it is 36 minutes long, and uses voice and video. https://youtu.be/oDOlq7EFIWA

I’m off to do some serious tree matching and merging now. 🙂


“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” – Clint Eastwood